Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What A Modern Man Really Needs

"Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." (Jef Raskin, developer of the Apple Macintosh)

I love computers.
I hate computers.

I have a college degree.  I've been using computers, for business and pleasure, for over a quarter century now.  So, naturally, I think I know what I'm doing when I'm sitting at my desk here, plinking away on my Dell, or when I'm clicking and whizzing at the speed of light around the Internet.  My computer is my willing servant - delivering the answer to any question I ask at the drop of a Google.  I am a Microsoft maestro.  Call me a "21st Century Man" - I am competent and connected!

But every now and then, out of the blue, when I least expect it...Life reminds me who is really the servant of whom.

Despite the fact that I've asked nothing more of it than I ever have...Even though I've always been kind to it, and gentle, and polite...I've dusted it, and inspected it...Disinfected it, inside and out...Been the perfect, loving caretaker...

My computer freezes.
The download gets lost in the wilds of cyberspace.
The cursor sullenly blinks at me, taunting me with its silence.

And I no longer feel like a "21st Century Man", master of all he surveys.

Instead, as I stare at the screen, I feel more like a lonely, cold Neanderthal, shivering and staring into the flickering fire, wondering what mysterious alchemy - what magic from the gods - created this object in front of me.  And just as Alley Oop would lean over and desperately blow on the flickering flames to keep them alive, I also know only one thing to do to rekindle my Kindle.

Push restart.
Don't ask me why.
Only the gods possess such divine knowledge.

What's the most valuable "software" that I'm required to use with every technological marvel designed to make my life easier?


Now where did I leave my goose quill and inkpot?

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